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“Greenwash Gold” rolled out for Olympic sponsors



BP, Dow Chemical and Rio Tinto are all major sponsors at this summer’s London Olympics. But with a history of unethical and unsustainable behaviour behind them, a new campaign aims to highlight the ill-conceived involvement of the trio in the so-called “greenest ever games”.

Greenwash Gold 2012 has been set up by the London Mining Network, the Bhopal Medical Appeal and the UK Tar Sands Network, and allows users to vote for which of the three companies they think deserves the “dishonour” of receiving the Greenwash Gold Medal.

This is an award that, according to the campaign’s website, should go to the organisation that “is covering up the most environmental destruction and devastating the most communities while pretending to be a good corporate citizen by sponsoring the Olympic Games”.

Since the announcement of the three as official sponsors, The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has been placed firmly under the spotlight, especially after Lord Coe’s initial claims that the 2012 event would be the “greenest ever games”.

Oil giant BP is the event’s sustainability partner – a controversial title that in February forced a group of high-profile protestors to write a letter to LOCOG and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stating their severe objection.

The idea that BP is a suitable sustainability partner for the London Olympics beggars belief”, Jess Worth, co-founder of the UK Tar Sands Network told Blue & Green Tomorrow at the time.

Whoever okayed this decision clearly has no understanding of what ‘sustainability’ means”.

Dow Chemical’s involvement is another contentious topic. The organisation owns Union Carbride – the gas company responsible for the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster in India, which has, to date, killed 25,000 people.

Meanwhile, mining firm Rio Tinto is supplying the metal for the Olympic medals. This metal is allegedly sourced from the company’s mines in USA and Mongolia, both of which produce deadly air pollution and threaten water resources, according to

Meredith Alexander, chair of the Greenwash Gold campaign and former member of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, said, “There is an expensive machine behind the Games that is funded by corporate sponsors.

Sadly when these sponsors are selected, money talks much more loudly than values.

As an ex-member of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, I know first-hand just how little scrutiny is allowed when sponsors are chosen.

Greenwash Gold 2012 is a chance to turn this around by letting the public vote for the least ethical sponsor.”

Video animations have been made to highlight the reasons behind each of the three organisations’ unsuitability for Olympic sponsorship. Members of the public are invited to vote for which of the three they think deserves to take home the unenviable accolades, with bronze, silver and gold medals to be awarded.

Here, laying down the case for each of the unwitting competitors, are the three videos.

To vote, visit the campaign’s website. The announcement of the winner (or, more likely, loser) will coincide with the Games taking place in July.

BP’s role as sustainability partner at London 2012 might simply be a greenwash cloak, but there are plenty of other organisations that truly focus on sustainable business practices and work towards positive objectives in their respective fields.

Supporting companies that should form the cornerstones of a newly enlightened and sustainable economy through investment is one way you can make a difference. Firstly, understanding where your money is invested and then realising you must take action is the basis of sustainable investment.

Our recent report, The Guide to Sustainable Investment, includes a great deal of information and a number of interviews with industry experts to give you a head start.

We also encourage you to engage with specialists in the field. Fill in our online form and we’ll connect you to an adviser.

Further reading:

Dow Olympic sponsorship faces scrutiny

BP Olympic sustainability partnership ‘beggars belief’

The Guide to Sustainable Investment


How Climate Change Altered this Engineer’s Life



how climate change affect our lives
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Living the life of an engineer likely sounds pretty glamorous: you are educated and highly regarded, typically have high paying gigs, and with the breadth of knowledge and array of fields of specialty, your possibility for jobs is usually immense.  But what if there was something else that needed your attention? Something bigger than just being an engineer, going to work every day and doing the same technical tasks typically associated with the profession?

For Kevin McCroary, that is exactly how it played out.  A successful engineer, gainfully employed in a prosperous job, a simple trip to the Philippines made him see that there was a bigger issue at hand than using his engineer training in a traditional profession.  This bigger issue was that of climate change.  And working as a volunteer for underprivileged children in the Philippines, he saw first-hand the extensive pollution and poverty that existed here and that impacted the livelihood of these kids and their families.

Upon returning home, from his trip to the Philippines he had a new perspective of the impact we as individuals and as humanity have on the earth, and more than that Kevin wanted to know more.  He started to do some research and study these human-environmental interactions, and shortly thereafter ended up in Greenland.  There, he spoke to a man who had lost his home in a tsunami, and, who, through consistent weather tracking could indeed confirm that the current weather trends were “strange:” there was undeniably a general warming tendency happening in the arctic, causing an array of negative effects.

The combination of these observations, as well as his own research, led Kevin to conclude that something had to be done.  With that in mind, he launched his project Legend Bracelet.  The mission is simple: create a reminder of the legacy we are leaving behind.  As individuals and as humanity, we are leaving behind an imprint on the earth, and the magnitude of it is something that needs to be brought to the forefront of public awareness.  The idea is to have a bracelet that can serve as a daily reminder of the impact on the earth that each of us can have every day, regardless of how big or small.  The bracelet has two capsules: the first is filled with sand or earth, and the second is empty.  As the owner, you are to fill the empty one with your own earth, carrying it with you as a reminder and symbol of your connection and commitment to helping look after our environment.

We are all impacted by climate change, and we all have a responsibility to help.  And it can start with something as simple as putting on a bracelet.  Support Kevin on his Kickstarter campaign for Legend Bracelet, tell others about it, or take action in your own way and play your part in slowing down the effects of climate change.  You may think “but I’m just one person!” You are indeed.  But so is he.  Every change starts with one.

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5 Things You Can Do Yourself to Improve the Value of Your House



home renovation and improvement
Shutterstock Licensed Image - By Stock-Asso

Whether you want to own it or list it, every once in a while, a house needs a facelift. This will not only improve quality of your life but will capitalize your home’s value significantly, too.

The best way to improve home value by yourself is to upgrade only what is necessary and nothing more. For instance, why would you buy a new bathroom door when a little retouch and a coat of fresh paint will suffice? By taking this approach, you are allowing yourself to make several small improvements instead of venturing just one or bigger ones. Select projects thoughtfully and know when you should stop.

Pitch in for the kitchen

If you really want a return on investment one day, start in the kitchen. By many, the kitchen still represents the heart and the soul of the house, the central hub of a property and it will all on its own add colossal value to your home. Moreover, the kitchen can be a breaking point in selling the house, so you should not hold on to your wallet in this area.

There are many little things you can do to spruce up the overall image of your kitchen. You may paint the kitchen cabinets, replace old door handles, add additional storage space with a sliding wall or a kitchen island if there is enough room for it. In addition, you may open the living space up by taking a kitchen wall down. Possibilities for do-it-yourself are many.

Add an attic or a basement bedroom

Properties are usually valued by two things: land size and the number of bedrooms. The price range between a three to four-bedroom home is two to four hundred thousand. Since you can’t change the size of your land, you can at least increase the number of bedrooms.

If you are prepared to go full-scale, converting the attic or the basement into the bedroom is another especially favored project that will by far boost up your home’s value once you decide to put it on the market. Until you decide to list it you will enjoy in your own extra space for entertainment, living, sleeping, playing, exercising, or whatever you fancy.

Transformation with paint

If your walls have scrapes and stained paint, a vintage color or shabby wallpaper, several cans of paint can make a striking distinction. In order to increase the value of your home, it is recommended to go with neutral colors that will unify the whole house and make the space visually bigger.

transformation with paint

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Poznyakov >

Bottom line, nothing can transform a home like a cast of fresh new paint. It is the number one way to beef up a property value of any budget. Additionally, painting the house is still one of the easiest, fastest and highest value drivers.

Secure with style

All of your effort and money would be wasted if you can’t protect the investments you made. A good security door costs as little as a few hundred dollars but if it saves you just once from being robbed it instantly pays itself off. People avoid putting security screens on windows because they mostly do not look stylish enough, but there are other options, such as installing shutters. There are so many elegant and cool shutter options that we found at Independent Blinds & Awnings that it’s really hard not to find something for you.

Basic maintenance for a worry-free mind

A clean house is a healthier house for you and your family. By making a clean house your number one on the list for improving, you accomplish a couple of things at once.

First, you stay on track with maintenance issues and, consequently you are able to recognize future problems before they become costly ones. Secondly, you don’t allow dirt and garbage to pile up over time. Thirdly, smudged, dirty windows can have a bad impact on the overall perception of the house. Same as eyes are windows to the soul, windows are for the home. Therefore, you need to wash them properly.

Spice up the landscaping

Big backyard is an all Australian dream and still, it is more often than not the most ignored area of the house. However, landscaping is really important as it frames a property from every corner.

Simple, low budget cosmetic changes in the front yard including installing garden beds, adding plants, pebbles or mulch, and paving or painting the front walls will positively lift the curb appeal as well as the property value. As for the backyard, you may span a lawn to create more open space for you and your family to move freely, cut and reduce unruly trees and vegetation, and fix the fence if needed.

Adding value to your home through a cosmetic or structural renovation is an actual way to quickly enhance your money invested in a property. In the end, you need to make sure that if you will continue to live in the house and renovate, that your renovations will contribute to a good lifestyle and that it will give the impression of a “ready to move in” property once you decide to list it.

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